Carousel is a musical by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) that was adapted from Ferenc Molnar's 1909 play Liliom, transplanting the Budapest setting of Molnar's play to a New England fishing village. The show includes the hit musical numbers If I Loved You, June Is Bustin' Out All Over, and You'll Never Walk Alone. Carousel was innovative for its time, being one of the first musicals to contain a tragic plot.
About Carousel musical
The original production opened on Broadway on April 19, 1945, and ran for 890 performances. The musical has enjoyed award-winning revivals (particularly the 1994 revival at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre) and has been adapted as a Cinemascope 55 film in 1956 and as a made-for-television special on videotape in 1967. It is particularly well-regarded among musicals by the theatre community, and Richard Rodgers, in his autobiography Musical Stages, said it was his favorite musical.
In 1999, Time magazine in its “Best of the Century” list, named Carousel the Best Musical of the 20th century, writing that Rodgers and Hammerstein “set the standards for the 20th century musical”. Ironically, in a highly critical review of the 1956 film version Time, in its March 19, 1956 issue, had also been critical of the stage musical. The anonymous Time critic who reviewed the 1956 film version of the show had referred to the plotline as “goo”.
The original production, directed by Rouben Mamoulian with choreography by Agnes de Mille, opened at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre on April 19, 1945, and closed on May 24, 1947, after 890 performances. The original cast included John Raitt (Billy), Jan Clayton (Julie), Jean Darling (Carrie), Eric Mattson (Mr. Snow), Christine Johnson (Nettie), Murvyn Vye (Jigger), Bambi Linn (Louise), Jean Casto (Mrs. Mullin) and Russell Collins (the Starkeeper and Dr. Seldon). A two-year national tour and 1949 Broadway revival followed.
The 1994 revival, a joint production of The Royal National Theatre and Lincoln Center Theater, opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on March 24, 1994. It ran for 337 performances plus 38 previews. The production was a transfer of the 1992 RNT production of Carousel. After the London run, an interracial production was directed by Hytner, with choreography by MacMillan. It featured Sally Murphy as Julie Jordan, Audra McDonald as Carrie Pipperidge, Shirley Verrett as Nettie and Hayden, again, as Billy Bigelow. The revival won five Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, best direction, best choreography. It received eight Drama Desk Award nominations, winning five. McDonald, in her first Broadway role, won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. McDonald and Hayden received the Theatre World Award. A Japanese tour followed.